Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kansas Upland 2011: Don't Bother

I've hunted the Midwest a lot of years.  I'm a prairie kid, and it's what I do.  Good years, bad years, they've all been more or less productive.  I've had a lot of dogs, and I relish hunting where you never quite know if you're going to jump a big squawking rooster or a covey of panicked quail.  If you've never been to Kansas, you really owe it to yourself to come sometime.

Just not this year.

You, like me, would be sorely disappointed.  I hunted opening weekend, followed by Thursday through Sunday of the following week, and the results were miserable.  Typically, you can find the mixed bag anywhere in the state.  This year though, the KDWP said the best concentration of birds would be in the northwestern quarter of the state.  That's where everyone went, in-state and out-of-state hunters, so there was more of the Orange Army than I'd ever seen.

And fewer birds.  Opening weekend, usually a shoe-in for a limit by noon, brought five hunters  just two -TWO- pheasants over the weekend.  I was undeterred, and had a buddy come up from Mississippi, who normally hunts quail (even more fried than Kansas this year) in Texas.  We had nine dogs who knew the drill, and we had four productive points in four days.  We didn't see a lot of hens, or birds flushing wild, or crafty grizzled birds giving our pointy dogs the slip.  Nope, we didn't see shit.

I have never had a less productive hunt.

KDWP's follow-up report is less rosy, but in a Department of Tourism sort of way (don't get me started).

And here I am, with two youngsters -- an eleven year old son looking to blast whatever flies -- and a young pointer who needs as many birds as possible to refine her.

Cold wet spring, add a hot dry summer, season it with bird-killing hail.  It all adds up to nothing.


  1. That's downright depressing. I'm hearing similar reports from further north. Nature is a mother.

  2. There are good pheasant numbers in Colorado are down alos. The area I typically hunt was hit pretty hard by hail and poor spring moisture. The cover isn't there like in years past and isolated pockets of CRP were completely destroyed by hail. Thankfully for them, my shooting woes continue, so the pheasants will be back next year I guess.

  3. Wow, gotta lay off the brown water!

  4. Had the same luck in Kansas this year. Not many birds!